Boeing 787 Structural Issues

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Boeing Woes Mount With Manufacturing Defect Found in Dreamliners

From BNN Bloomberg – link to story

Anurag Kotoky, Bloomberg News ~ 27/28 August 2020

(Bloomberg) — Boeing Co. found two “distinct manufacturing issues” in the fuselage of 787 Dreamliner jets and has told airlines operating eight affected planes to remove them from service so they can be repaired.

The issues were found in the join of fuselage sections toward the rear of the aircraft, and as a result, the jets don’t meet Boeing’s design standards, the company said in a statement Friday. Boeing said it has notified the Federal Aviation Administration and is conducting a review into the cause of the problem.

“We determined that eight airplanes in the delivered fleet are affected by both issues and therefore must be inspected and repaired prior to continued operation,” Boeing said. “We immediately contacted the airlines that operate the eight affected airplanes to notify them of the situation, and the airplanes have been temporarily removed from service until they can be repaired.”

One of the affected aircraft is operated by Singapore Airlines Ltd. The jet is not in service and the carrier will work closely with Boeing on a solution, it said in a statement Friday.

The Dreamliner, Boeing’s marquee wide-body jet, experienced a series of teething problems after its 2011 debut, including a three-month global grounding in 2013 after battery meltdowns on two planes. Some others were grounded in 2018 after faulty Rolls-Royce Holdings Plc engine blades deteriorated faster than expected. Boeing’s 737 Max hasn’t flown since March 2019 following two deadly crashes blamed on flight-control software.

The Air Current reported the Dreamliner fuselage issues earlier Friday. In addition to Singapore Airlines, it said United Airlines Holdings Inc. and Air Canada are impacted by the grounding, citing an unidentified person familiar with the situation.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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anyone know the details of the issue?  All I have seen is something about rear section joints.  I am really curious to know some details on it.


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New 787 Problems Spotlight Boeing’s Quality Issues

Sean Broderick Guy Norris September 03, 2020
Boeing fuselage production facility Two issues affecting Boeing 787 rear fuselage sections were introduced during production in Boeing’s Charleston, South Carolina, facility.
Credit: Sean Broderick/AW&ST

Production mistakes on scores of Boeing 787s will intensify scrutiny of the manufacturer’s quality-control capability and could place it in violation of a 2015 agreement with the FAA triggered by other manufacturing problems, including some on the 787 program.

  • Boeing confirms two new 787 production issues
  • Hundreds of aircraft could be affected

Boeing has discovered two seemingly unrelated defects introduced in composite fuselage sections during 787 production. A source with knowledge of the issues confirms the more prevalent issue involves shims, or material added during assembly to fill gaps between structures or adjust how pieces fit together to ensure tolerances are met.

The composite material that makes up the 787 fuselage is extremely stiff when cured. Achieving the correct corner angle between the cured part and final shape is hard to control, so shimming is used to make parts of the 787 fuselage sections mate together. In some 787s, Boeing found the shims are not the correct size.

The second defect is an out-of-tolerance problem with the fuselage’s inner mold line. The defect areas exceed Boeing’s 0.005-in. tolerance limit for flatness, the source says.

Boeing determined eight 787s have both defects, which together make those aircraft susceptible to structural failure at loads they should be able to withstand. This prompted Boeing to tell affected operators to ground the aircraft for immediate inspection and likely repairs that will take at least two weeks per airframe. The production issues were first reported by The Air Current.

The manufacturer declines to say how many of the 980 787s built so far have one of the two defects. The source with knowledge of the issue confirms that “many” airframes are affected, while a second industry source says the figure is “several hundred.” Boeing acknowledges there are two separate issues but declines to discuss their scope beyond acknowledging that eight aircraft have both.

“Boeing has identified two distinct manufacturing issues in the join of certain 787 aft body fuselage sections, which, in combination, result in a condition that does not meet our design standards,” the company says. The issues were discovered during a “regular” production-system audit “as part of our quality management system,” Boeing says, adding that it informed the FAA and is working to determine each issue’s “root cause.”

The agency has said little publicly.

“The FAA is aware of the matter and continues to engage with Boeing,” an agency statement says.

Neither problem on its own creates an immediate safety-of-flight issue, Boeing says.

“Individually, these issues, while not up to specifications, still meet limit load conditions. No immediate action is required for the rest of the fleet,” the manufacturer says. “We are analyzing data on the in-service fleet to determine if action is required, potentially including more frequent inspection or rework. It could also be determined that no further action is required if the condition is found to not impact the longevity of the structure.”

Half the 787’s airframe by weight consists of carbon-fiber-reinforced plastic and other composites, which was groundbreaking at the time it entered production. Known issues in a few hundred 787 fuselages in service could provide some of the most comprehensive information to date on how defects progress in pressurized composite airframe structures.

“Aluminum has been around [in airplane design] for 100 years,” one veteran materials engineer and nondestructive testing expert says. “We have a lot of experience with it. Composite structures—we don’t have that history. There’s a big learning curve . . . on these airframes. We can speculate, but we don’t know for sure.”

The latest 787 defects affect the join between the 787’s two composite aft fuselage sections, known as Section 47, which is pressurized, and Section 48, which is unpressurized and supports the empennage, or tail, section. Both sections are made in Boeing’s Charleston, South Carolina, manufacturing facility, which it purchased from Vought Aircraft in 2009. The sections are then joined and moved to one of the two 787 final assembly lines—either in Charleston, which assembles all 787 variants, or in Everett, Washington, which assembles 787-8s and 787-9s.

Boeing 787 production line The 787 program has been beset with several manufacturing and production-line quality issues as well as a lithium-ion battery overheating problem that led to the fleet’s grounding in 2014. Credit: Sean Broderick/AW&ST

Boeing has dealt with 787 fuselage-shimming problems in the past. A 2014 FAA review of 787 design, certification and manufacturing states that Boeing “identified a significantly higher number of nonconformances related to shimming as compared to other fuselage sections” with similar design features. “Aft fuselage shimming issues were identified in production and in the full-scale fatigue test,” explains the report, prompted by overheating incidents of in-service lithium-ion batteries that led to the fleet’s 123-day grounding in 2014.

Although most of the shim problems were found and corrected before delivery, five aircraft entered service with “potentially discrepant shims,” leading Boeing to issue an alert service bulletin to ensure they were fixed. The 2014 report cited “a lack of clarity and verification for certain fuel coupling installation requirements” for the problems, adding that they did not comply with Boeing’s quality management system.

Word of new, extensive production issues expands on a long-running series of quality-control deficiencies that have affected several Boeing aircraft programs. In December 2015, Boeing and the FAA agreed to a settlement after the agency dug into two main issues—using noncompliant fasteners and missing deadlines for providing instructions on the installation of fuel tank inerting systems. During the FAA’s probe of those issues, 11 others came to light, including some “production quality-control problems,” the agency said in its 2015 announcement of the settlement.

One issue involved incorrectly installed 787 engine fuel feed manifold couplings. Boeing found three problems with coupling assemblies—incorrectly installed or missing O-rings, lock wires and fastener retaining rings. In November 2012, Boeing revealed that 38 of the first 787s built had at least one of the flaws, and 31 had all three. Fuel leaks on at least two in-service aircraft were traced to the problem, prompting the FAA to issue an immediately effective airworthiness directive in December 2012.

Under the settlement agreement, Boeing agreed to pay $12 million—half of what the FAA proposed—and commit to a series of process improvements. Among them was using a safety management system to “proactively seek continual process improvements and correct undesired conditions,” the agreement says. It also requires Boeing Commercial Airplanes (BCA) to “implement improvements to processes to ensure that assembly installations that have been affected by process or design changes continue to conform to type design.”

The agreement’s “performance period” lasts through January 2021. “In the event that BCA does not meet its commitments under this agreement, BCA and the FAA agree that BCA shall be subject to additional civil penalties up to $24 million,” states the agreement, made public following a 2017 Freedom of Information Act request by The Seattle Times.

Singapore Airline 787 Boeing has not said how many of the nearly 1,000 787s produced have one of the production issues, but sources tell Aviation Week that it is potentially several hundred. Credit: Sean Broderick/AW&ST

Boeing’s latest 787 problems come as it grapples with ongoing quality control issues on its KC-46 tanker and 737 MAX programs. In both cases, numerous instances of tools and other foreign object debris (FOD) left inside completed aircraft have drawn scrutiny and concern.

The U.S. Air Force has halted deliveries of the 767-derivative KC-46 multiple times due to FOD discovered during both routine production and nonroutine rework. The FOD issue is one of several that has hampered the program.

Boeing in recent months made changes to its 737 production line to combat rampant FOD issues discovered in 737 MAX fuel tanks. The model has been grounded since March 2019 to correct design- and training-related shortcomings linked to two fatal accidents in five months, and production was briefly paused earlier this year.

The fallout from the MAX accidents and prolonged grounding have prompted Boeing to make a series of organizational changes aimed at elevating safety concerns to the top of the company and ensuring aircraft are built as designed. One emphasis is granting—many would say returning—more influence to engineers, in part by reorganizing them out of business units and under one line of leadership.

“I believe that the alignment of our company—the centerpiece being the [single] engineering function with its eye on safety—will have the authority and the charter” to drive across-the-board improvements, CEO David Calhoun told Aviation Week in July. The Boeing boss is confident the revamped approach gives the right internal stakeholders “the ownership and the visibility to get ahead of issues, as opposed to catching up to them.”

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Hundreds of Boeing Dreamliners 'face inspection by the FAA' after defect grounds at least eight 787 jets in latest setback for aircraft maker after two deadly crashes

  • Boeing last month said eight 787 Dreamliners had been removed from service
  • That came after the planemaker identified two distinct manufacturing issues 
  • Now the FAA may mandate inspections that could cover hundreds of jets 
  • Such a safety directive could cover 900 Dreamliners delivered since 2011 


PUBLISHED: 13:37 EDT, 7 September 2020 | UPDATED: 16:36 EDT, 7 September 202084


The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is considering inspections that could cover hundreds of Boeing Co’s (BA.N) 787 Dreamliners after production issues at one plant, according to reports.   

Boeing last month said that some airlines operating its 787 Dreamliners have removed eight jets from service after the planemaker identified two distinct manufacturing issues in the fuselage section. 

The FAA may mandate enhanced or accelerated inspections that could cover hundreds of jets in potential lapses stretching back a decade, The Wall Street Journal reported, citing an internal government memo and people familiar with the matter. 

In the memo dated August 31, Boeing told FAA that it had manufactured some parts at its South Carolina facilities that failed to meet its standards, according to the paper.  

The company found manufacturing defects on some of its 787 long-range airliners in areas where parts of the fuselage are joined together, the latest setback for the aircraft maker whose 737 Max is still grounded after two deadly crashes.

Such a safety directive could cover as many as 900 Dreamliners delivered since 2011, according to the report. The final language of the directive depends on ongoing reviews by Boeing and the FAA.

The FAA and Boeing did not immediately respond to requests for comment by Reuters. 


Being 787-8 Dreamliner airplanes of Singapore low-cost carrier Scoot Tigerair, grounded due to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, are parked at the Asia Pacific Aircraft Storage facility in Alice Springs, Australia at  the end of last month 


The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is said to be considering inspections that could cover hundreds of Boeing Co's 787 Dreamliners after production issues at one plant

The company had said that eight planes must be inspected and repaired before they are allowed to fly, and it contacted the airlines, which removed those planes from service.

Boeing declined to identify the airlines involved, but United Airlines, Air Canada and Singapore Airlines confirmed that each has one plane grounded for inspection.

Boeing Co. said that it discovered 'two distinct manufacturing issues' toward the rear of certain 787s that means the planes don´t meet design standards. The company said it notified the Federal Aviation Administration and is trying to determine the cause of the problem.

It is understood the issue stems from checks on the material that fills gaps between sections of the jets’ main body section, known as shims.  

The issue was first reported by The Air Current, which said it was the first known instance of a structural problem with the plane´s mostly carbon-fiber fuselage causing Boeing to tell airlines to ground 787s.

The 787, which Boeing calls the Dreamliner, entered service at many airlines in 2011 and became popular with airlines for longer routes because of size and fuel efficiency. 

Boeing has delivered nearly 1,000 of them. 

In 2013, when there were about 50 787s in service, the planes were grounded worldwide for three months after battery packs on two of them overheated, including a Japan Airlines 787 that was parked at Boston’s Logan Airport. 

Regulators allowed 787s to resume flying after Boeing redesigned the housing around lithium-ion batteries used for auxiliary power systems including the electrical system in the cockpit.

Last year, Singapore Airlines grounded two of its 787s after finding that fan blades on some Rolls Royce engines deteriorated faster than expected. 

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This just out yesterday.  On top of fuselage problems, now there are issues with 787 horizontal stabilizers.

I think the saying should be changed to 'If it's Boeing, I'm not going'.


Boeing finds new 787 Dreamliner production problem

In the latest issue, Boeing learned during fabrication of the 787 horizontal stabilizer that some components were clamped with greater force than specified, which could result in improper gap verification and shimming. Boeing identified the problem in February and announced it on Tuesday.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) said Tuesday it “is investigating manufacturing flaws affecting certain Boeing 787 jetliners. The agency continues to engage with Boeing.”

A person briefed on the matter said the horizontal stabilizer issue could require the inspection of as many as about 900 airplanes.

Boeing said the stabilizer issue, identified at a production plant in Salt Lake City, Utah, was being corrected on airplanes not yet delivered and was not an immediate flight safety issue.

“Analysis is underway to determine if action is required on the in-service fleet,” Boeing added.

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1 hour ago, deicer said:

I think the saying should be changed to 'If it's Boeing, I'm not going'.

if its a Dreamliner, I'll take a SteamLiner


  • Haha 1
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4 hours ago, conehead said:

Boeing will owe more compensation to it's customers... I don't understand how this company survives. Is it "too big to fail"?

Just like the Federal government in Canada.  Just borrow more money.

  • Haha 1
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Holy crap!  Now another one, this time with the vertical tail!  If it's Boeing, I ain't going!

(Reuters) - Boeing Co BA.N said late on Thursday it was in discussions with U.S. safety regulators about a manufacturing issue found last year in its 787 Dreamliner.


KOMO News Radio in Seattle reported the issue involved the vertical tail fin on the 787, citing federal records, and could affect 680 airplanes.

It was the fourth reported production issue disclosed in recent days involving the 787.

Asked about the latest issue, the Federal Aviation Administration reiterated on Thursday it “is investigating manufacturing flaws affecting certain Boeing 787 jetliners” but had made no decisions whether to issue new airworthiness directives.

KOMO said the issue involved excessive gaps that could pose a safety concern and cause strain on the structure of the plane over time.

Boeing said in a statement the newly reported “issue was found in late 2019” and had been addressed in production. It added its engineers determined “it did not immediately affect the safety of flight and no immediate action is required.”

The largest U.S. airplane manufacturer added it was “working with the FAA to finalize guidance for the in-service fleet. Our expectation is that this will require a one-time inspection during regularly scheduled maintenance.”

Boeing said on Tuesday it learned during fabrication of the 787 horizontal stabilizer that some components were clamped with greater force than specified, which could result in improper gap verification and shimming.

A person briefed on the matter said the horizontal stabilizer issue could require inspecting as many as about 900 airplanes.

On Monday, the FAA said it was also investigating two other manufacturing flaws in some 787s.

Boeing said in August that airlines had removed eight 787s from service as a result of two distinct manufacturing issues in fuselage sections.

Boeing said on Monday that some airplanes had shims that were not the proper size, and some airplanes had areas that did not meet skin-flatness specifications. Shims are used to close tiny gaps in joints. Boeing identified the shimming issue in August 2019.

“Individually these issues, while not up to specifications, still meet limit load conditions. When combined in the same location however, they result in a condition that does not meet limit load requirements,” Boeing said.


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